G4S Asylum Seeker Housing Declared Unfit
- 21 Nov
Women at the centre have described it as like living in "cells", and have complained about dirty conditions and insults to their privacy. Although the hostel is reserved exclusively for women with children aged under two and a half, the inquiry heard how it is reported to be staffed almost entirely by men.
Women staying in hostels provided by G4S have reported that the state of their accommodation, frequent moves and the attitude of the private housing providers left them feeling degraded and depressed.
They have given evidence to an inquiry examining whether the Home Secretary's statutory duty to safeguard and promote children's welfare, which came into force in 2009, is being met.
The housing in the North-east is provided by the security company G4S, who sub-contract work out to Jomast; they won two out of six UK Border Agency contracts to house asylum seekers this year.
It has been reported that asylum seekers were rushed in to unsuitable properties as G4S were failing to meet an upcoming contractual deadline to re-house the areas asylum seekers by 12th November.
Cha Matty, 31, from Zimbabwe, has been living in an asylum seekers hostel for mothers and babies, and has had to ask several times since her daughter could crawl for a stair guard:
G4S promised us in a meeting five months ago that they would get rid of this hostel, but we are still there. 30 women and 38 children all living in single rooms.
We are just numbers for them in making a profit which is very unfair and sad.
Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children's Society which is supporting the inquiry, said:
We work with children and families in the asylum system every day who are living in terrible conditions. This very often has a huge impact on their health and welfare... many have fled violence and persecution in their own country.
A G4S spokesman said it would look into all the individual complaints and many customers could expect to see improvements in their accommodation in the coming weeks as historic housing stocks were reviewed.
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/701709
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